Below is Figure 4A from the paper, which shows the proportions of admixture from outside of Europe and West Asia among a wide variety of West Eurasian groups.
All available evidence points to Putin’s complicity in the 1999 apartment-building bombings in Russia. Those who have tried to investigate have been killed off, one by one.
Russian human-rights defenders Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, and Alexander Litvinenko also worked to shed light on the apartment bombings. But all of them were murdered between 2003 and 2006. By 2007, when I testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the bombings, I was the only person publicly accusing the regime of responsibility who had not been killed.
The bombings terrorized Russia. The Russian authorities blamed Chechen rebels and thereby galvanized popular support for a new war in Chechnya. President Boris Yeltsin and his entourage were thoroughly hated for their role in the pillaging of the country.
Putin, the head of the FSB, had just been named Yeltsin’s prime minister and achieved overnight popularity by vowing revenge against those who had murdered innocent civilians. He assumed direction of the war and, on the strength of initial successes, was elected president easily.
Almost from the start, however, there were doubts about the provenance of the bombings, which could not have been better calculated to rescue the fortunes of Yeltsin and his entourage. Suspicions deepened when a fifth bomb was discovered in the basement of a building in Ryazan, a city southeast of Moscow, and those who had placed it turned out to be not Chechen terrorists but agents of the FSB.
After these agents were arrested by local police, Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the FSB, said that the bomb had been a fake and that it had been planted in Ryazan as part of a training exercise.
The bomb, however, tested positive for hexogen, the explosive used in the four successful apartment bombings. An investigation of the Ryazan incident was published in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and the public’s misgivings grew so widespread that the FSB agreed to a televised meeting between its top officials and residents of the affected building.
The FSB in this way tried to demonstrate its openness, but the meeting was a disaster: It left the overwhelming impression that the incident in Ryazan was a failed political provocation.
Three days after the broadcast, Putin was elected. Attention to the Ryazan incident faded, and it began to appear that the bombings would become just the latest in the long list of Russia’s unsolved crimes.
What historical data will help to clarify Ukraine and Russia backgrounds.
Higher education institutions: the Russian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1724, Moscow University in 1755. Ostroh Academy was founded in 1576 in Ukraine, the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy was established in 1615 and Lviv University in 1661.
First printed ABC book in Ukraine was published in 1574 in Lviv, and in the Tsardom of Russia it happened 60 years later in 1634.
Religion: Kyiv Metropolia was founded in the year 988, and Moscow Patriarchate only in 1458. Kyiv Metropolia is 460 years older than Moscow ones.
Capitals: Kyiv is one among the oldest cities in Europe and was founded in 482, while Moscow was founded in 1147 by Yuriy Dolgoruky, the son of Volodymyr Monomakh. So, Kyiv is older than Moscow by 665 years.
The first monarch who was crowned in the Tsardom of Russia was Ivan the Terrible in 1547, and in Ukrainian lands it was the first king of Rus’ Daniel of Galicia in 1253.
Mongol yoke: Kyiv lost the Mongolian yoke in 1363 after the Battle of Blue Waters; Moscow lost yoke in 1480 after great standoff on the Ugra river, and Muscovy paid tribute to the Crimean khan till 1700, including the first years of Peter the Great reign.
Name: For the first time, the term ‘Ukraine’ was found in the chronicles in the year 1187. Term ‘Russia’ was found only during the reign of Ivan the Terrible 400 years later.
Last, but not the least, famous Ukrainian Pylyp Orlyk is the author of one of the first constitutions in the world. On April 5th, 1710 he was elected as a hetman. On the same day he announced a ‘Pacts and Constitutions of Rights and Freedoms of the Zaporizhian Host’. Worth mention, that the U.S. constitution was adopted in 1787. In France and Poland it was adopted in 1791.
a plan, pursued after World War I by Polish leader Józef Piłsudski, for a federation, of Central and Eastern European countries. Invited to join the proposed federation were the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Finland, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia.
The Polish name Międzymorze, which means “Intersea” or “Between-seas,” was rendered into Latin as “Intermarium.”
The proposed federation was meant to emulate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, that, from the end of the 16th century to the end of the 18th, had united the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Intermarium complemented Piłsudski’s other geopolitical vision—Prometheism, whose goal was the dismemberment of the Russian Empire and that Empire’s divestment of its territorial conquests.
Intermarium was, however, perceived by some Lithuanians as a threat to their newly established independence, and by some Ukrainians as a threat to their aspirations for independence, and was opposed by Russia and by most Western powers, except France, who backed it.
As I’ve said before, the West can either understand Eastern Europe, or it can maintain its heroic WWII narrative. It can’t do both.
Estonian war hero Harald Nugiseks (22 October 1921 – 2 January 2014) was an SS-Oberscharführer (Sergeant) in World War II, who served voluntarily in the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian) of the Waffen SS. Nugiseks is also one of the four Estonian soldiers who received the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross.
Harald Nugiseks: “Estonians joined the German mobilization because the Estonian national committee and Uluots (Estonian President) encouraged us. But these were the exact deeds of Uluots that the parliament or the important men in the government refuse to acknowledge. Uluots was the one who encouraged us to join the army. But we are constantly called Fascists. This I do not understand! Because not a single Estonian, I can assure it, wasn’t the kind of man to follow the Russians or Germans. We went there to battle for Estonia and I am glad when I find from the newspaper or from history: these men were on the Narva front and stopped the Red Army from moving onwards.”
Harald has been representing this generation who had to protect the homeland in foreign uniforms. He and his three mates did not battle on the German side, they were first and foremost battling against the red regime. No one has managed to prove that there was a better way to do that back then. We were looking for answers for tens of questions where the soldier’s heroism was on a meaningful position. Why this sort of resistance was born on Narva front that the large Soviet army’s squads, battalions, groups and divisions bleed to death while trying to attack it and eventually gave up? How many red soldiers died on Narva front? There have been estimations that around 400,000 or 500,000. On the 51st anniversary of the falling of Narva on July 26, 1995 the Red Army veterans said that 700,000 soldiers were killed on that front in 1944! The red regime paid an expensive price for conquering Estonia. What did not happen in 1939 did come true in 1944 thanks to Estonian men.
There have been talks of a lot of bodies being in the Sinimäed Hills. There have also been rumors that the piles of Russians’ dead bodies were so big that they were mistaken as the new attackers and dead bodies were constantly shot. The men who were near the Sinimäed Hills said that in the autumn on 1944 and in the spring of 1945 they went to clean up the bodies from Sinimäed. For each body they received the price of a vodka bottle. In the spring of 1945 it meant that they took a truck-load of skulls to the burial place. In one place of burial, where 30,000 skulls were counted, they placed a memorial which said that the Soviet soldiers rest there. But there were a large number of common graves where no signs were put. Some farmers took a pile of skulls to the burial place and then took them back during the night, so that they could bring the skulls again the next day. But how many soldiers were lying on the minefields and were never found?
It was a war where one side was soullessly counting, but the other side was protecting homes and the last one gave birth to what we can call the Second War of Independence. Who were those brave Estonian sons who battled in the Second War of Independence – this text is devoted to one of them. These were the finest sons of Estonia and may their flame burn inside our souls forever.
It has been said that the Ancient Greek Antaios got his power from the earth. When he lost his connection with earth, it meant the end to him. This text also emphasizes the soldier’s connection to his land. The author of this text believes that Harald was inspired by not the Knight’s Cross, but by the letters of the unknown women over Estonia and the Estonian people in general and what was in those letters. Who stands behind a soldier? If there is someone, the soldier battles, if there isn’t anyone, he does not. If the people feel that the soldier is battling for them, the soldier also feels it and protects his people.
The people understand better than anyone else if the war that is going on is theirs or not. “There is no international laws or morale tradition that would prohibit the nation to battle for its own protection,” wrote Harald Riipalu. When the Soviet Union occupied Estonia on June 17, 1940, this meant war to us and we were in a war situation with the Soviet Union from that moment on. The war between the Soviet Union and Germany gave us a chance to once again fight for our freedom. The German soldiers were our allies and also the volunteers from Europe and Scandinavians. We didn’t want Russia, we wanted to keep our little home free and for this Estonian soldiers battled side by side.
That’s how the Estonian soldiers’ battles should be viewed on Narva front and in other places. These four soldiers – the Knight’s Cross recipients – just like all other Estonian soldiers, who fought for our freedom, showed great soldier’s bravery in these battles and they deserve the people’s gratitude. Especially thankful should be those whom the war helped to escape to the West, away from certain death. Their descendants should know, however, that the life was guaranteed here with these brave Estonian soldiers’ life and death. Isn’t it so that the people who do not fight for their freedom, don’t deserve it? Well, they did fight and they made their nation worthy of freedom.
The movement included members of the Independent Labour Party, the British Socialist Party, Workers Socialist Federation, and the Herald League, who wanted to show international workers’ solidarity with their Russian comrades. Where other attempts at cross-factional unity had failed, the Hands Off Russia! campaign proved to be a powerful galvaniser of British left-wing sympathisers. It really got going in January 1919 when a National Committee for the Hands off Russia! campaign was elected at a conference in London. Many of the groups and individuals who congregated under the umbrella of Hands Off Russia! later went on to form the Communist Party of Great Britain in August 1920.
Can we give credit to Ukraine’s sich riflemen for slowing the reds down a bit?
—“Absolutely true! Poland saved Europe twice – from Tatars and Mongols and then from (even worse plague) of Soviets in 1920. In 1945 they were betrayed by Roosevelt in Yalta and given to Stalin as a new slave’s camp.”—
On August 16, 1920, Marshal Józef Piłsudski personally led the Polish Army counter attack against the Red Army, which practically smashed it, and saved Poland and Europe from a Soviet invasion.
This stunning and decisive victory that Pilsudski and the Polish army achieved, which would be later known as “The miracle on the Vistula” (after the Vistula river running through Warsaw), radically changed the outcome of the Polish – Russian war of 1920, and perhaps the fate of Europe.
Up until that battle, the seemingly invincible Red Army was sweeping through Poland pushing the Polish army all the way back to Warsaw. The newly reinstated Polish state, desperate, alone and unaided in its war with Soviet Russia (the only European country to offer any substantial help to Poland during the war was Hungary) seemed on the verge of collapse and total defeat.
Lenin believed that by destroying Poland, he would create a Red Bridge to Europe -particularly Germany – which he was certain was ripe for Communist revolution.
Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”
Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.
First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.
Then he offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. “A direct appeal … to the American people will, without a doubt, attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews. … The senator underlined the importance that this initiative should be seen as coming from the American side.”
Kennedy would make certain the networks gave Andropov air time–and that they rigged the arrangement to look like honest journalism.
Passed away peacefully on July 24, 2016, after succumbing to cancer and dementia. Born in Krakow, occupied Poland, on May 17, 1941, Orest came to the United States with his parents as a refugee in 1949. In his new hometown of Philadelphia he attended the renowned Central High School and was active in Plast, the Ukrainian Scouting organization, where he made many lifelong friendships, especially in his fraternity “Burlaky.” After graduating from Temple University with a BA in 1965 and from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill with an MA in 1967, he completed his PhD at Harvard University in 1973 in History and Middle Eastern Studies. His thesis, entitled “Unwilling Allies: The Relations of Hetman Pylyp Orlyk with the Ottoman Porte and the Crimean Khanate,” was the first doctorate in the newly-formed Ukrainian Studies Program at Harvard. While at Harvard he met his wife, Maria, and after several memorable years as Assistant and then Associate Professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, in 1982 he moved to York University in Toronto where he was Professor of History and Political Science until his retirement in 2015. An avid soccer fan, he played for the All-American Team in college and later with the Norwood Kickers in Boston.
During his academic career he authored six books on East European and Ukrainian history, including The Mazepists: Ukrainian Separatism in the 18th Century and Domination of Eastern Europe: Native Nobilities and Foreign Absolutism, and a total of 55 articles and book chapters. During the last years of his career he was working on a history of the Plast Ukrainian Scouting movement. He was editor of the journal Nationalities Papers and an organizer of many international scholarly conferences. From 1998 to 2012 he was a director of Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) projects in Ukraine.
His most important scholarly contribution was his book, Ukraine: A History, which was published by the University of Toronto Press in 1988, shortly before Ukraine’s independence. The book gave the country an authoritative history during its formative years. It has been published in four editions and translated into numerous languages. It will remain his lasting legacy to Ukraine and Ukrainians.
For his scholarly and professional contributions, he was presented with the Order of Merit by the Government of Ukraine in 2001. He was named a Foreign Member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine. He was also awarded the Shevchenko Medal by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress for his outstanding contributions to the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community in the category of Education.
He is survived by his wife, Prof. Maria Subtelny; son, Dr. Alexander Subtelny of Cambridge, MA; sister, Dr. Oksana Isajiw (Irenaeus) of Newton, NJ; and by many other family members in Canada, the US, and Ukraine. Heartfelt thanks are extended to those stalwart friends who were a support during trying times; to his brother-in-law, Dr. George Luczkiw, who stepped in at crucial moments; to his physicians, Drs. Zenon Pahuta, Martin Chepesiuk, Sandra Black, and David Bitonti; and to the caring staff of Toronto Western Hospital, Humber River Hospital, and the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre.
Visitation at Turner & Porter, Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W., Toronto, on Thursday, July 28, 2–4 pm and 6–9 pm. Panakhyda at 7:30 pm. Funeral mass on Friday, July 29 at 10 am at St. Demetrius Ukrainian Catholic Church, 135 La Rose Ave., followed by interment at Park Lawn Cemetery. Friends are invited to join the family at a Celebration of Life reception at the Old Mill Restaurant, 21 Old Mill Rd., immediately thereafter.
Operation Vistula – ethnic cleansing of Ukrainians, Poland 1947
200K forcibly forcibly resettled 2 fmr German terr pic.twitter.com/3WFIQ7bkSM
— Tat Atfender (@TatAtfender) July 22, 2016
It is certainly worth noting that at the same time, the Soviets were resettling Poles from Western Ukraine into Poland.
What is forgotten is that it was Stalin and the Soviet Union that were Hitler and Nazi Germany’s ally in starting this horrific war that took the lives of well over 50 million people, and set the stage, after the defeat of Hitler, for the nearly half-century enslavement of the eastern half of Europe under communist tyranny.
It is the fairy tale of Russian innocence and victimhood in starting and fighting the Second World War that is still used by the post-Soviet government of Vladimir Putin to justify a nostalgia for the “good old days” of Soviet power, and for the Russian president to say that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the “greatest geo-political tragedy of the twentieth century.”
Among the lies and distortions of Soviet history that Vladimir Putin’s government continues to perpetuate is a downplaying of the human cost of trying to “build socialism” during the nearly 75-year reign of communist rule in the Soviet Union, from 1917 to 1991. It is estimated that as many as 64 million innocent men, women and children were killed in the Soviet Union in the name of building the socialist workers’ paradise.” (See my article: “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power.”)
The Soviet Fairy Tale About the Start of World War II
So it seems worthwhile at the time of another “victory” parade in Moscow’s Red Square to set the record straight about the start of the Second World War in Europe. First, there is the propaganda story that the Soviet government and now Putin’s government has been indoctrinating their own people with and many others around the world about Soviet foreign policy before the start of the war in Europe in September 1939. The “party line” story runs something like the following:
In the 1930s Great Britain and France had failed to show decisiveness in standing up to the growing threat from Hitler’s Germany. Stalin, in the Soviet Union, had a clearer understanding of this threat and showed greater resolve to resist fascism’s increasing power. He ended the Soviet Union’s aggressive propaganda against the West, and attempted to form a “popular front” with other anti-fascist nations and groups in Europe on the basis of “collective security.”
Britain’s and France’s appeasement policies, which allowed Hitler to occupy Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and early 1939, made Stalin realize that to save the Soviet Union from having to possibly face Nazi aggression alone without support from the Western powers, he had to “buy time” to build up Soviet military defenses.
Thus, he chose to enter into a nonaggression pact with Hitler in August of 1939. He agreed in a secret protocol of that pact to divide up Poland with Nazi Germany in the event of war breaking out, so as to widen the buffer zone separating Nazi military power from the Soviet heartland. Stalin’s fears were proven right when Hitler broke the pact in June of 1941 and invaded the USSR.
It may have been unsavory and unfortunate for the Poles, who had their nation carved up by the two totalitarian giants in September 1939; or for the Finns, who were invaded by the Red Army and lost border territory to the Soviet Union in the winter of 1939-1940; or for the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were annexed by Stalin in June 1940; or for the residents of the Romanian provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina, which were also occupied by Stalin’s forces in June 1940. But these lands provided “breathing space” for the Soviet Union to peacefully prepare for the inevitable war and do its part, after it was invaded, to destroy the Nazi threat to humanity.
Stalin’s Plan for Bringing About World War II
This interpretation has been increasingly challenged over the last three decades. Ernst Topitsch’s Stalin’s War (1987), Viktor Suvorov’s Icebreaker (1990), Heinz Magenheimer’s Hitler’s War (1998), and Albert Weeks’ Stalin’s Other War (2002), for example, all argue that Stalin’s purpose was not to protect the Soviet Union from an early attack. Instead, Stalin’s strategy was to intentionally create the conditions for a war to more easily break out between Nazi Germany and the Western powers. Such a war would weaken the “capitalist nations” and produce the conditions for communist revolution throughout Europe at the point of Soviet bayonets and tanks. . . .
The former Soviet archives have produced a previously secret speech that Stalin delivered on August 19, 1939, four days before the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact was signed in Moscow on August 23. Stalin explained that peace prevented the spread of communism; war, on the other hand, provided the destruction and destabilization that was the entrée to revolution:
Comrades! It is in the interest of the USSR, the Land of the Toilers, that war breaks out between the [German] Reich and the capitalist Anglo-French bloc. Everything must be done so that the war lasts as long as possible in order that both sides become exhausted. Namely for this reason we must agree to the pact proposed by Germany, and use it so that once this war is declared, it will last for a maximum amount of time.
In Stalin’s mind, if the Nazis were defeated “the Sovietization of Germany follows inevitably and a Communist government will be established.” And if the war had weakened the Western allies enough, “This will likewise ensure the Sovietization of France.”
If the Nazis were to win at the end of a long war they would be exhausted and have to rule over a large area, which would pre-occupy them from attacking the Soviet Union; and “these peoples who fell under the ‘protection’ of a victorious Germany would become our allies. We would have a large arena in which to develop the world revolution.” But regardless of the eventual victor, the Communist Parties in all these countries needed to keep up their propaganda and subversion so the groundwork would have been prepared for that revolution when the time came.
Stalin Frees Hitler to Fight Britain and France
Thus, in Stalin’s mind, Hitler’s drive for a Europe dominated by Nazi Germany was in fact a tool for him to use for advancing the global cause of communism. By freeing Hitler of the fear of a two-front war, Nazi Germany would invade Poland, the British and French might then declare war on Germany, and a prolonged war in central and western Europe would drain the capitalist nations, while leaving the Soviet Union neutral in the world conflict. This would enable Stalin to continue to build up Soviet military power, enter the war at a time of his own choosing, and bring communism to Europe through use of the Red Army.
This is why, after Hitler ordered the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, a little more than two weeks later, on September 17, 1939, Stalin ordered the Soviet occupation of the eastern half of Poland, bringing about the end of Poland on the map of Europe before September of that year had come to a close.
Hitler could now turn his military fury on to the Western Allies, Great Britain and France, and bring about that war-caused exhaustion of the “capitalist enemies” that would set the stage at some point for a Soviet victory over the European continent.
But the swift defeat and German occupation of France in June 1940 changed the configuration of forces and the likely length of the war. Hitler attempted to draw Stalin actively into the Axis alliance against the British Empire in November 1940; when that failed because Stalin’s price for participation seemed too high, Hitler ordered the plans to be set in motion for the invasion of the Soviet Union in the spring of 1941.
#Ukraine’s very tragic and complex WWII history does not fit neatly into any of the myths which major power have built.
10 mountain climbers placed a wreath of red poppies on the statue of Mother Motherland in Kyiv for Remembrance Day, on May 8.
The sculpture was built in 1981 on the territory of the WWII History Museum to commemorate the victory of the Soviet Union in what was called the “Great Patriotic War.”
Today, it wears this crown of poppies, the symbol of remembrance, to remember all the victims in the war, and to recall that the war didn’t start in 1941 when Germany invaded the USSR, but was predated by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, following which the USSR itself invaded a number of territories, having agreed with Nazi Germany to carve up Europe.
The director of the Institute of National Memory Volodymyr Viatrovych says that the communist hammer and sickle will be removed from the statue till the end of the year.
Last year, the wreath was placed on the statue by famous roofer Mustang Wanted.
The images below are from the Soviet anti-religious magazine, Bezbozhnik, which translates to “Atheist” or “The Godless.” It ran from 1922 to 1941, and its daily edition, “The Godless at the Workplace,” ran from 1923 to 1931. The scathing publication was founded by the League of Militant Atheists, an organization of the Soviet Communist Party members, members of its youth league, workers and veterans, so while it was in many ways a party project, it was not state-sponsored satire.
The Soviet Union adopted a formal position of state-atheism after the revolution but it wasn’t a clean break. The expropriation of church property and the murder or persecution of clergy was certainly the most obvious supplantation of power, but the USSR was a giant mass of land, most of it rural and much of it pious, so the cultural crusade against religion was an ongoing campaign for the hearts and minds of citizens who might resist a sudden massive secularization. The monstrous, violent art you see below depicted religion as the enemy of the worker and footman to capitalism. You’ll notice a wide array of religions depicted, as the USSR was very religiously diverse.
(My favorite Motyl article so far.)
Alexander Gogun’s excellent study, Stalin’s Commandos: Ukrainian Partisan Forces on the Eastern Front, sometimes reads like an analysis of Putin’s commandos in the eastern Donbas. In both cases, the official Moscow line was and is that they’re a popular movement generated by discontent from below. In fact, Stalin’s commandos, like Putin’s, were largely creatures of the Kremlin—a point Gogun, a Russian scholar currently based at the Free University in Berlin, makes forcefully, repeatedly, and convincingly.
Gogun details how the partisans were structured and led (from abroad), what they did (terrorism) and whom they fought (the Germans and Ukrainians), how they interacted with the local population (with abandon), what their behavior looked like (robbery, drunkenness, and rape), and how they compared with the Ukrainian nationalist insurgents, the UPA, and the Polish nationalist guerrillas, the Home Army (AK). One table (p. 160) has a wealth of information: the 11 largest units of the Soviet Ukrainian partisan movement consisted of 45,478 fighters. Just over 11 percent were killed; 2 percent were executed or deserted; 7 percent were women; 57 percent were Ukrainians, 25 percent were Russians, and only 13 percent were members of the Communist Party. Their job was not to defend the people, but to fight the Germans, regardless of the exceedingly high toll the local population paid for their actions. Both the UPA and AK, in contrast, were careful to defend the people they claimed to represent.
Unsurprisingly, Stalin’s commandos were most active in the forest and marsh regions of northern and northwestern Ukraine. That fact greatly contributed to one of the major secondary-theater wars during World War II: the bloody Ukrainian-Polish conflict in Volhynia. As Gogun’s evidence demonstrates, the presence of Soviet partisans in this volatile region populated by large numbers of indigenous Ukrainian peasants and many Poles, both indigenous and recent settlers, may have sparked the large-scale violence that engulfed both communities in mid-1943.
Ethnic relations were anything but simple in Volhynia. The Germans terrorized the Poles and Ukrainians and fought the UPA, AK, and the Soviets. Many Poles, and above all the AK, viewed Ukrainians in general and Ukrainian nationalists in particular as their sworn enemies and sympathized with the Soviets, especially after the Polish government-in-exile allied with Moscow by means of the Sikorski-Maisky Pact of July 30, 1941. Many Ukrainians, and above all Ukrainian nationalists, viewed Poles, the AK, and the Soviets as their sworn enemies and the Germans as their situational allies (in early 1941 and 1944) or their situational enemies (1941-1943). The Soviets regarded the Germans and Ukrainian nationalists as their enemies, mistrusted the Ukrainians, and viewed the Poles and the AK as situational allies.